China, U.S. Launch New EcoPartnerships for Sustainability

U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke speaks at the EcoPartnership ceremony as Chinese Councilor Yang Jiechi and Deputy Secretary William Burns look on.
U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke speaks at the EcoPartnership ceremony as Chinese Councilor Yang Jiechi and Deputy Secretary William Burns look on.

By Charlene Porter
IIP Staff Writer
Washington, DC
July 11, 2013

Pairs of U.S. and Chinese companies and institutions are joining ventures in which they seize shared problems to find solutions that prevent pollution, mitigate greenhouse gases, protect water and preserve the environment.

The six binational pairs are new participants in the U.S.-China EcoPartnerships Program, and they signed their cooperative agreements at a ceremony July 11 at the U.S. State Department in Washington. The event was among the highlights of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, underway since July 10.

U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke was in Washington for the ceremony. Among the best elements of the partnerships, he said, are cooperation “and recognition that businesses, nongovernment organizations and educational institutions, as well as our two governments, can apply their power of innovation and creativity to benefit society.”

In the last few years, 18 partnerships between U.S. and Chinese entities have been created to work on clean energy and sustainable development projects. They have worked “to foster the innovation that will produce a sustainable way of life for our people and for our planet,” said Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, who also spoke at the ceremony.

Speaking through an interpreter, Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi said the partnerships serve multiple interests. “To step up policy coordination and practical cooperation between our two countries in these fields not only serves our own interest, but also helps to advance global sustainable development.”

Yang said the meetings between U.S. and Chinese representatives at the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue have expressed “our shared resolve to strengthen cooperation in the fields of climate change, energy and the environment.”

The 18 existing EcoPartnerships have made “forward-looking efforts” in energy efficiency, clean energy and environmental protection, Yang said.

The U.S. government joins the partners themselves to make investments in the partnerships. They are formed with expressed intentions to address particular environmental problems with working-level solutions and shared expertise. These are among the partnerships forged July 11 and their goals:

• Coca-Cola and the Yangtze River Delta Circular Economy of Technology plan to develop a way to use agricultural waste to make bottles for the world-famous beverage.

• The New York Institute of Technology and Peking University are teaming up to help arid communities situate wells so they will use groundwater resources in safe and sustainable ways.

• Raven Ridge Resources and Guizhou International Cooperation Center for Environmental Protection aim to make use of methane gas that is released by coal extraction in mining. In doing so, the partnership would tap a new energy source, reduce a greenhouse gas emission and improve mine safety.

U.S. and Chinese partners signed the EcoPartnership agreements in the formal atmosphere of a diplomatic meeting room. Switching to English as he closed his remarks, Yang challenged the partners “to make the Earth greener, make this a more beautiful planet for all of us and for generations to come.”

More information is available on the EcoPartnerships website.